By Alan Ayckbourn
(Sitting) Thanks. Sorry, only the man over there won’t stop talking. I wanted to read this in peace. I couldn’t concentrate. He just kept going on and on about his collections or something. I normally don’t mind too much, only if you get a letter like this, you need all your concentration. You can’t have people talking in your ear – especially when you’re trying to decipher writing like this. He must have been stoned out of his mind when he wrote it. It wouldn’t be unusual. Look at it. He wants me to come back. Some hopes. To him. He’s sorry, he didn’t mean to do what he did, he won’t do it again I promise, etc., etc. I seem to have heard that before. It’s not the first time, I can tell you. And there’s no excuse for it, is there? Violence, I mean, what am I supposed to do? Keep going back to that? Every time he loses his temper he ... I mean, there’s no excuse. A fracture, you know. It was nearly a compound fracture. That’s what they told me. (Indicating her head.) Right here. You can practically see it to this day. Two X-rays. I said to him when I get home, I said, “You bastard, you know what you did to my head?” He just stands there. The way he does. “Sorry,” he says, “I’m ever so sorry.” I told him. I said, “You’re a bastard, that’s what you are. A right, uncontrolled, violent, bad-tempered bastard.” You know what he said? He says, “You call me a bastard again and I’ll smash your stupid face in.” That’s what he says. I mean, you can’t have a rational, civilized discussion with a man like that, can you? He’s a right bastard. My friend Jenny, she says, “You’re loony, leave him for God’s sake. You’re loony.” Who needs that? You tell me one person who needs that? Only where do you go? I mean, there’s all my things – my personal things. All my – everything. He’s even got my bloody Post Office book. I’ll finish up back there, you wait and see. I must be out of my mind. Eh. Sometimes I just want to jump down a deep hole and forget it. Only I know that bastard’ll be waiting at the bottom. Waiting to thump the life out of me. Eh?